Saudi officers file letter difficult subpoenas in LIV-PGA lawsuit

Saudi Arabia is disputing a federal Justice of the Peace’s ruling that its sovereign wealth fund and the fund’s governor be required to supply paperwork and testimony in LIV Golf’s antitrust lawsuit towards the PGA Tour.

Attorneys for the dominion filed a letter on Thursday difficult the explanations a Justice of the Peace decide cited for permitting subpoenas of the Public Investment Fund and its governor, Yasir al-Rumayyan.

The letter was despatched to U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman, who’s overseeing the case within the Northern District of California.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen in a Feb. 16 determination mentioned the PIF and al-Rumayyan will not be protected by the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act due to a industrial exercise exception.

The dispute facilities round LIV’s argument that the PIF and al-Rumayyan supplied broad oversight of the rival league. The PGA Tour says paperwork obtained throughout discovery point out they had been actively concerned in signing gamers to LIV Golf.

According to court docket paperwork, the PIF owns 93% of LIV Golf, which within the final yr has paid signing charges reported to be upward of $100 million to gamers, together with Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

The letter additionally says van Keulen steered the PIF would have waived its immunity if it licensed LIV Golf to sue the PGA Tour.

The PGA Tour banned gamers who joined LIV Golf from competing in its occasions, and 9 gamers — together with Mickelson and DeChambeau — filed an antitrust lawsuit on Aug. 3. LIV Golf quickly joined as a plaintiff, and solely three gamers — DeChambeau, Peter Uihlein and Matt Jones — stay as plaintiffs.

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“Her reasoning has broad implications for Saudi Arabia beyond the instant case,” mentioned the letter, filed by the Washington regulation agency of Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick.

The letter mentioned whereas van Keulen’s ruling held that al-Rumayyan — a minister in Saudi Arabia’s authorities — met the necessities for common-law overseas official immunity, that regulation has a commercial-activity exception to immunity.

“Recognition of such an exception to common-law foreign official immunity likewise has wide-ranging implications for Saudi Arabia,” the letter mentioned.

The PIF and al-Rumayyan contend that implementing subpoenas within the U.S. would pressure them to violate Saudi regulation towards disclosure of confidential info.

The letter mentioned Saudi Arabia deliberate to file a friend-of-court transient that would come with interpretations of the industrial exercise exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act and enforcement of Saudi Arabia regulation.

Freeman, in the meantime, dominated the PGA Tour might add the PIF and al-Rumayyan as defendants in its countersuit.